June 29, 2010

ART FOR ART’S SAKE MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE

I’m a math geek. A certifiable, jargon infested babbling four eyed math geek. And while I view nearly everything through a statistical haze I view the economy and the ensuing markets as incompatible arts. My family on the other hand is cool artists. Certifiable, jargon infested stylish cool artists. And while they view nearly everything with prejudged recklessness they view the economy and the ensuing markets as compatible science.
Sound confusing, that’s because it is? There are certainly many out there who prefer to keep it that way as the best trader’s and investors will tell you that volatility is an ally. But so as not to undermine the seriousness of the debate I’m starting to wage with this piece I can’t help wonder if the artificial creation of volatility is the equivalent of modern art, which is inaccessible for but a tiny few and pretty for the rest of us. Can you guess who thinks it’s pretty? Give you a hint, it rhymes with freak. That’s right, and I too am inclined to view the world as driven by style without the substance of science. The wide obsession that is accessorized with phones and sunglasses has rendered the cultural landscape with an air of narcissism infused with antisocialism. Wow….now that’s what I call incompatible art.
And I recently went to a gallery opening to catch the latest renderings by a few well known, to a few domestic and international, modern artists. I have to say that the work appeared of benign skill, although one with no artistic sense could say that about most modern art, But what was so striking were the artists themselves. Skinny, jean clad, elegance, with designer glasses (of course) and in the most stunning example of style, bilingual. It dawned even on a dyed in the wool geek like me that the artists were the art that everyone was there to observe.
So my point is simple (not really), whether one views the markets as art or science it was when the scientists snookered the lords of wall streets biggest firms, with nary a smidgeon of empirical evidence to their claims, that the rest of the world woke up, recognized them as con artists and realized that science and art could coexist after all.